The Cowgirls’ Song of Separation
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On the auspicious occasion of Radhastami, we are pleased to release a video rendition of Gopi Gita from Srimad Bhagavatam. These verses are found in the 31st Chapter of the 10th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. These famous prayers were sung by the Gopis when Krishna suddenly disappeared from their company and they were searching for Him everywhere. This is one of the finest poetry ever composed. Srimad Bhagavatam is ‘Grantharaja’, the king of all the scriptures and this poetry is one of its crest jewels.
This transcendental sound doesn’t wait for one’s understanding but directly enters the heart and imbues it with the love of Krishna. Srila Prabhupada says,
“The prayers of Narottama dasa Thakura, this sound is above the material platform. It is directly from the spiritual platform. And there is no need of understanding the language. It is just like a thunderburst. Everyone can hear the sound of thunder-there is no misunderstanding. Similarly, these songs are above the material platform, and they crack like thunder within your heart.” (VedaBase, SPL 30: London: A Dream Fulfilled)
Srila Ramananda Raya says, “What is the use of a bowman’s arrow or a poet’s poetry if they penetrate the heart but do not cause the head to spin?’ (CC, Antya 1.196)
Gopi Gita is one such poetry.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would regularly hear it. When King Prataprudra was denied audience, he went in disguise and recited these verses while Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was taking rest in the Jagannatha-vallabha garden during the Ratha yatra festival. He took the Lord’s lotus feet in his hands and began to massage them very gently. As he did so, he recited these verses. When the Lord heard the word ‘tava kathamrtam’, He rose in ecstatic love and embraced him.
In an overcommunicated world where text messages, email and facebook demand our constant attention, we should take care not to miss these valuable jewels in this human form of life.
Srila Prabhupada advises, “Now Gajendra was in danger, and although he was in a body other than that of a human being, he remembered the stotra he had chanted in his previous life. Yatate ca tato bhuyah samsiddhau kuru-nandana. To enable one to achieve perfection, Krsna gives one the chance to remember Him again. This is proved here, for although the King of the elephants, Gajendra, was put in danger, this was a chance for him to remember his previous devotional activities so that he could immediately be rescued by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
“It is imperative, therefore, that all devotees in Krsna consciousness practice chanting some mantra. Certainly one should chant the Hare Krsna mantra, which is the maha-mantra, or great mantra, and also one should practice chanting cintamani-prakara-sadmasu or the Nrsimha stotra (ito nrsimhah parato nrsimho yato yato yami tato nrsimhah). Every devotee should practice in order to chant some mantra perfectly so that even though he may be imperfect in spiritual consciousness in this life, in his next life he will not forget Krsna consciousness, even if he becomes an animal.” (SB 8.3.1)
It is rather easy to memorize these Sanskrit verses when they are in a song format, set to a melodious tune.
Dr. Sahadeva dasa